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Home > 2022 > Ukraine: Back to Status quo in Europe? | Shrikant Paranjpe

Mainstream, VOL LX No 13, New Delhi, March 19, 2022

Ukraine: Back to Status quo in Europe? | Shrikant Paranjpe

Friday 18 March 2022

by Dr. Shrikant Paranjpe*

The Russian intervention in Ukraine can by understood in the context of two concepts, one that deals with the issue of legitimacy of intervention and the other with concerns about national security. The issue of legitimacy traces its source to the process of change that took place in Eastern Europe in 1989. The East European revolution that saw the disintegration and creation of new nation states rested on the foundation of ethnic nationalism based right to self-determination. This principle, first advocated by Woodrow Wilson in the aftermath of the First World War had witnessed the redrawing of the European map, especially in the Balkan region. The concept was resurrected in 1989 wherein the East European states sought to overthrow the Soviet hegemony and eventually assert their national identity to create new nation states. Thus, one can rationalise the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the split of Czechoslovakia, the unification of Germany and eventually, the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Ukraine, is a product of this assertion of ethnic identity based right to self-determination. Ukraine was part of the Slavic State, later to be incorporated into the Lithuanian and Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth and eventually to become part of Czarist Russia. While the majority ethnic group is Ukrainian, the state has a fairly large Russian minority who retain their linguistic Russian identity. One would argue that given the assertion of identity that Ukraine exercised in 1991, the Russian dominated Eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass would use the same logic to declare independence as was done by the two regions, Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics. In fact, this was the logic used to rationalise the Crimean decision to delink itself from Ukraine through a referendum and eventually join Russia in 2014. [1]

The Supreme Council of Crimea claimed to be acting with regard to the United Nations Charter and the argument of the International Court of Justice in the Kosovo case to justify its declaration of independence. [2]

The issue of national security needs to be considered through the perspective of a country’s perception of its ‘security perimeter’. A security perimeter can be understood as an extended frontier that a country perceives as a geographic region that would act as a buffer, a neutral territory or one under its own influence. The purpose of such an area is to ensure that the borders are not directly threatened by an aggressor. The British Indian policy towards Afghanistan, the Himalayan States of Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan, the need to retain Tibetan autonomy is an example of the need for a security perimeter. In case of the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact provided this security frontier while Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia were part of the Soviet Union. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the entry of NATO in the Eastern European theatre, the extended frontier now shifted to the border countries of Belarus, Ukraine and Georgia. Unlike Belarus that is under Russian influence and Georgia that does not have geographic continuity with Central or Eastern Europe, Ukraine remains the only front-line state. This Ukraine is seeking membership of NATO, and is in fact recognised as one of the aspiring members of NATO. Ukraine is a participant in the NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme and has an ‘intensified’ dialogue on possible future membership. However, Russia has been hostile to Ukraine’s efforts at joining NATO as it views the country to be within its sphere of influence in which the Western countries should play little role. In 2008, in response to a query on Ukrainian membership of NATO President Putin warned that Russia might be forced to take military action against Ukraine if Ukraine hosted foreign military bases. [3]

Crimea

In 1991 the Soviet Supreme Council adopted the declaration of forming the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) with Ukraine being one of its members. This was tantamount to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The roots of Ukrainian nationalism can be traced to the 19th century national movements that developed in Eastern Europe. The search for national identity included the Pan-Slavic identity, ‘Little Russian’ identity and the dominant theme of special Ukrainian ethno-cultural identity. This aimed at a consolidation of the homogeneity in culture and language, the dominance of Ukrainian cultural traditions and at the same time, at accentuating ethno-cultural differences between Ukraine and Russia [4]. But, Ukraine is a multi-ethnic, multi-language and multi-cultural country that has sought to balance this diversity. Ethnic divisions in Ukraine are a part of the historical baggage, a result of the imperial struggles between Russia, Austro-Hungary and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This has resulted in the Southern and Eastern parts becoming pro-Russian as they were part of the Russian empire, while the western part that was under the Habsburgs retaining strong pro-western feelings.

Ukraine’s efforts to get closer to the European Union had started soon after its independence. The political dialogue between the EU and Ukraine started in 1994 with the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. Ukraine experienced the Orange Revolution (2004-2005), long-drawn protest movement that questioned the Presidential election result in the contest between Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych, the former being pro-west while the latter pro-Russia. Eventually, the revolution ended when Yushchenko was declared the official winner. Subsequently, in 2010, Viktor Yanukovych, won elections to become President. The deliberations for a European Union-Ukraine Association Agreement were held during the Presidency of Viktor Yanukovych but failed to get momentum due to the insistence by the European Union regarding Electoral, judicial and constitutional reforms in the country. His pro-Russia policies ignited new wave of protests that eventually culminated in the Maidan Protests in 2014. These protests were sparked by the government’s decision to defer the signing of the European Union-Ukraine Association Agreement and choosing closer ties with Russia. Eventually, the Agreement was signed in two stages, first in relation to its political content in March 2014 and then its economic content in June 2014. [5]

Crimea was part of the Czarist Russian empire in the eighteenth century, later to be occupied by the Red Army except for the brief occupation by the Nazi forces during the Second World War. During this period the region saw an influx of Russian population. In 1954 Crimea was transferred to Ukraine resulting in a change in the socio-economic situation in the peninsula. The Russian Black Sea fleet stationed in Crimea helped subsidize the Sevastapol city budget, covering up to 15 percent of all revenues. It was an important factor in ensuring Russian cultural influence in the region along with having more than 500 Russian language schools as against a few Ukrainian language schools and several Russian Universities having established branches in the region. Further, Russian television channels were the main source of information for local residents. [6]

With Ukraine on the path to becoming independent, the Russian population of the peninsula supported claims for the secession from Ukraine and re-joining Russia. Ukraine sought to forestall this process by granting autonomy to the region. This was done by avoiding use of force against the separatists and providing attractive economic incentives to Crimea. The situation in Russia under Boris Yeltsin further helped this process. Russia was facing a separatist movement in Chechnya and Yeltsin had taken a strong position in favour of national integration. In the 1997 the bilateral Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership, formally recognized Ukraine’s current borders. It was the political crisis of 2013-2014 that played the role of initiating the Crimean conflict. After the 2010 Ukrainian presidential election, the new president, Viktor Yanukovych, was able to assert control over the political scene in Crimea. Despite the post-2010 stabilization, and efforts to integrate Crimea with Ukraine, Crimea remained a region dominated by very strong pro-Russian sentiments. The Ukrainian President Yanukovych suspended the negotiation on signing the association agreement with the European Union, resulting in protests and demonstrations against his government accusing him of being pro-Russian. [7]

The Maidan revolution in Ukraine pushed Yanukovych out of power. It has been argued that in response to the collapse of Yanukovych’s government in February 2014, Russia decided to intervene in Crimea. The majority of the Crimean population appeared to have perceived the new Ukrainian government as being controlled by radicals and sponsored by the West. The Public Opinion Polls held in mid-February 2014, indicated that 41 percent of Crimean residents supported integration with Russia. [8] It was the Russian intervention in Crimea that began the Ukrainian crisis that eventually has led to a war between Ukraine and Russia.

The merger of Crimea into Russia that was effected in 2014 has been viewed from two contrasting perspectives. Putin responded to the petition submitted by the Prime Minster of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea asking Russia to secure peace and order in Crimea by sending Russian military forces into the region. [9] Putin justified this decision by arguing that a referendum that was held in Crimea had given an overwhelming approval to re-joining with Russia. He also invoked the shared history between Crimea and Russia by recalling that Prince Vladimir was baptised here and his spiritual feat of adopting Orthodoxy predetermined the overall basis of the culture, civilisation and human values that united the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. He also took pride in Sevastopol, a legendary city with an outstanding history, a fortress that served as the birthplace of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Putin accused the Ukrainian government of attempting to deprive Russians of their historical memory, even of their language and to subject them to forced assimilation. The Maidan revolution was referred to as terror and murder wherein the Nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites executed a coup. It was in view of this that the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol turned to Russia for help in defending their rights and lives and in preventing the events that were unfolding in Kiev, Donetsk, Kharkov and other Ukrainian cities. [10]

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine considered the legality of the referendum conducted by Crimea and declared that the Autonomous Republic of Crimea violated constitutional principle of territorial integrity of Ukraine and exceeded its authority and as such it did not comply with the constitution of Ukraine. [11] The European Union addressed the situation in Crimea in 2014 and condemned Russia’s unprovoked violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity and called on Russia to immediately withdraw its armed forces and allow immediate access for international monitors. [12] President Obama in his statement stated that the US was imposing sanctions on more senior officials of the Russian government, in addition, sanctioning a number of other individuals with substantial resources and influence who provide material support to the Russian leadership, as well as a bank that provides material support to these individuals. [13] President Obama’s response was restrained, he did not wish to be drawn into rash action or any kind of dangerous confrontation with Putin over Ukraine. Obama did not consider it to be another cold war and maintained that the United States and NATO did not seek any conflict with Russia. [14] While the Western powers were critical of Russia for what was described as ‘annexation’ of Crimea the counter actions to this Russian deed appear to be low key. Moscow appeared to perceive the West as divided and reluctant to confront Russia and as being pragmatic to eventually accept Russia’s fait accompli regarding Crimea. Russia also maintained that it was open to dialogue with the West as it was not responsible for the creation of this crisis. Crimean crisis appeared to be misjudged by the West as a few years down the line it was to become the precursor to the current Ukrainian crisis. [15]

The spill over of the Crimean crisis in East Ukraine came in form of the rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk holding referendums, the results of which paved the way for the separatist territories to be declared as Luhansk Peoples Republic and Donetsk Peoples Republic. The conflict in the region prompted the European nations to take initiative to bring about peace in the region. In September 2014, envoys from Ukraine, the rebels from the Eastern region of Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) signed a truce Minsk. The provisions of the Minsk Agreement included an OSCE-observed cease-fire, a pullback of all foreign fighters, an exchange of prisoners and hostages, an amnesty for the rebels and a promise that separatist regions could have a degree of self-rule. The agreement collapsed and conflict returned to the region. In another effort France and Germany took the initiative to sig another agreement, now called Minsk II in 2015. Representatives of Russia, Ukraine, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the leaders of separatist-held regions Donetsk and Luhansk now agreed for a immediate, comprehensive ceasefire; withdrawal of heavy weapons by both sides; OSCE monitoring; dialogue on interim self-government for Donetsk and Luhansk; Constitutional reform in Ukraine including decentralisation, with specific mention of Donetsk and Luhansk; elections in Donetsk and Luhansk; amnesty for fighters; exchange of hostages, prisoners; etc.. However, many Ukrainians saw it as a betrayal of national interests and its implementation was stalled. In fact, both the Russians and the Ukrainians had different interpretations of the agreement. Russia saw it as a guarantee that its key demand of Ukraine not joining NATO would be met, while Ukraine perceived it as an opportunity to gain back control of all its territory. [16]

The Crisis

The news about Russian troop deployment along the Ukrainian border, especially across the Eastern region of Donbass started to come in in December 2021. US warning that Russia could invade Ukraine as early as January 2022 was based on the build-up of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border. [17] This build-up was considered unusual by both Ukraine and US. Russia had supported a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine in 2014 after the Crimean crisis. In spring of 2021 a massive build-up of Russian troops had been noticed but the troops were eventually pulled out after the summit meeting between the American President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, strategic intelligence shared by the US indicated that Russia was planning for a war against Ukraine as the latest military build-up was considered different in many ways than what happened in the spring of 2021. [18] The increase in Russian troop deployment was followed by several efforts at dialogue between the Western powers and Russia to de-escalate the tensions. The failure at this effort resulted in NATO sending additional troops to its Eastern European member states and Russia and Belarus holding joint manoeuvres near the Ukrainian borders. The current armed conflict began when Russian troops entered Ukraine on 21 February 2022, shortly after Putin announced the recognition to the Luhansk Peoples Republic and Donetsk Peoples Republic. The war has raised several issues that are interlinked and yet have their own dynamics. One, is the Russian demand based on its concern for national security that NATO the does not reach Russian borders. Second, is the European concern that is rooted in its trade relations with Russia. The third is the manner in which NATO has expanded both, its geographic spread in terms of membership and its area of operation. Finally, the deliberation with which Ukraine has sought to retain its independent identity from Russia and the cost that it has had to pay for the same.

The core debate on the Ukrainian crisis must rest on the issue of NATO’s expansion and its perceived security threat to Russia. The debate about the implications of the possibility of expanding the area scope of NATO to Central and Eastern Europe in the post-Soviet world took place in the early 1990s. The backdrop to the debate was the Bill Clinton’s policy of ‘Partnership for Peace’ in Europe. Partnership for Peace (PFP) launched in 1994 was an American initiative to establish strong links between NATO, its new democratic partners in the former Soviet bloc, and some of Europe’s traditionally neutral countries to enhance European security with an aim to provide a framework for enhanced political and military cooperation. The movement beyond PFP posed a dilemma: In case Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic join NATO situation of the Baltic states, Belarus and Ukraine would remain uncertain as they would create a vacuum between Russia and Western Europe. This was realised by the then Ukrainian President who warned that NATO expansion to Ukraine’s borders would transform his country into a "sanitary border’’ state between opposing camps. [19]

The arguments in favour of NATO expansion focussed on the gradual ending of Cold-War divisions in Europe. It was argued that as a home of many of the world’s most important democracies and market economies, enlargement would promote stability in Europe. It was also argued that the enlargement would sustain American leadership in Europe and secure the transatlantic link. [20]

Amongst the notable supporters of this vision were Secretary Madeleine Albright, Ambassador Kirkpatrick and Dr. Brzezinski who maintained that the central stake in NATO expansion was the long- term, historic, and strategic relationship between America and Europe. [21] The counter to this argument was that in post-Soviet Europe stability should be a function of political institutions rather than military as such, the PFP was a better instrument to achieve this goal. The real deterrent remained the unwillingness of the Europeans to bear the cost of ensuring security in their own backyard and the eventual liability on the US to shoulder the burden of military costs to bring security to Europe. [22] George Kennan looked at the expansion of NATO as the beginning of a new cold war. Strobe Talbott reminded the US that the Russians continued to view NATO as a vestige of cold war and as such while the Warsaw Pact had been disbanded, the Russians would question the rationale for continuation of NATO. Robert Gates also warned that American efforts to bring in Ukraine and Georgia into the NATO framework was overreaching and recklessly ignoring Russian national security interests. In fact, Russia was provoked into launching an offensive into Georgia and detach two secessionists‐​minded Georgian regions and put them under effective Russian control. It has also been pointed out that American support to the pro-western groups in the 2013-2014 demonstrations in Ukraine would have been one of the reasons for the Russian action on Crimea. [23]

Russian concern about the expansion of NATO was not new. The change was clear in 1994 at two international meetings in Europe. The Russian Foreign Minister refused to commit Russia to the Partnership for Peace program of military cooperation with NATO. This position was repeated by President Boris Yeltsin at Budapest in 1994 when he reminded President Bill Clinton that Europe, not having yet freed itself from the heritage of the Cold War, is in danger of plunging into a cold peace; and asked as to why was the US trying to sow the seeds of mistrust? [24] Despite the warning given by George Kennon and others NATO continued to expand eastwards. After Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic’s entry into NATO in 1999, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia and the Baltic states became members in 2004 bringing NATO almost on the Russian border. At the annual Munich Security Conference Putin again raised the issue of NATO’s expansion arguing that NATO had put its frontline forces on Russian borders. [25] Much later in 2022, in an answer to a question from the media President Vladimir Putin said allowing Ukraine to join NATO would increase the prospects of a Russia-NATO conflict that could turn nuclear. Putin asked if it was realised that if Ukraine joined NATO and decided to take Crimea back through military means, the European countries would automatically get drawn into a military conflict with Russia. [26] One can argue that Russia’s suspicions about NATO would have been further confirmed by the fact that NATO has a track record of operating outside of its geopolitical area of concern. NATO forces were active in both, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The position of Europe in the Ukrainian crisis is complicated. Europe has a fairly strong and enduring relationship with Russia in matters of energy supply. Russia is the biggest supplier of natural gas to Europe, which depends on the former for nearly 40% of its natural gas requirements. Russia is followed by Norway, which supplies about 22% of Europe’s gas needs; Algeria and Azerbaijan supply under 20% and 10% respectively. [27] Therefore, the American idea of banning of oil and natural gas supply from Russia has not found positive response in Europe. Despite Ukraine’s urging for such a ban, the German Chancellor dismissed the idea arguing that Europe had ‘deliberately exempted’ Russian energy from sanctions. The US decided to go ahead with a unilateral ban, [28] but the effect would not be drastic as the US accounts for only 3% of oil imports from Russia. Russians have, however, been categorical in their reply stating that Russia may close its main gas pipeline to Germany if the West goes ahead with the ban. [29] Despite the fact that in the long run the Europeans plan to move away from dependeny on the Russians for its energy security, the current situation makes it difficult for Europe to support any long-term option of a war with Russia.

It is this dependency that is the root of the differences in the European and American approach to the Ukrainian crisis and that is reflected in European Union’s relations with NATO. Both are partners that share common values and strategic interests yet there appears to be a lack of communication and co-ordination between them. The tensions revolve around the issue of credibility of the transatlantic alliance especially regarding the maintenance of American presence in Europe and the issue of burden sharing between the two. [30] The problem was compounded during the Donald Trump administration. Trump had called NATO an ‘obsolete’ alliance during his election campaign. In office, he insisted the European allies fulfil their financial obligations towards NATO and threatened to withdraw American forces from Europe. [31] While the West has closed ranks in face of the crisis in Ukraine, the unity is essentially based on humanitarian considerations that are a product of the ongoing war. But, once the region goes back to normalcy, it is unlikely that the rhetoric of humanitarian crisis would override geopolitical and geostrategic considerations on part of Europe.

At one level, the Ukrainian crisis appears to be a confrontation at the global level between Russia on the one hand and the US with NATO on the other. It may be read as an American effort at retaining or regaining influence in the European theatre or as an effort by Russia to also regain and retain the lost influence in the Central and Eastern European theatre after 1991. The PFP initiative in case of NATO and the urge to establish representative democratic systems of governance in what was the land beyond the Iron Curtain and therefore the active intervention in the region was an American need. The need for security and consequently drawing of red lines to ensue national security in what was perceived as the threat from the expanding cold war era military alliance led Russia to act in Crimea in the first place and extend it to Ukraine as that region represented the security perimeter for the nation. Russian threat perception about NATO led it to raise the issue time and again in the 1990s. Finally, at the time when it acted in Ukraine, Russia once again laid out the conditions for halting the onslaught. Russia demanded that Ukraine cease military action; change its constitution to enshrine neutrality; acknowledge Crimea as Russian territory and recognise separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states. [32]

Ukraine’s desperate calls for military aid from NATO and the urgency to be accepted as a member of the European Union do not appear to have resulted in real time help by either the Americans or the European Union. The US decision not to deploy NATO troops in Ukraine [33] and limit aid to military equipment was based on the realisation that there is a need to ensure that the war does not escalate. Similarly, the reluctance to fast track Ukraine’s admission into European Union was also based on realistic calculations by Germany and France. [34] This has left Ukraine with limited options. The efforts to seek a de-escalation of tensions through a dialogue by the French President Emmanuel Macron in February 2022 had raised hopes. President Putin had assured President Macron of trying to find compromises as there would be no winners if case of a war. However, Putin lamented that the United States had ignored Moscow’s demand of security guarantees including NATO’s non-expansion and insisted that the Ukrainian authorities respect Western-brokered Minsk agreements on the country’s separatist conflict. [35] But, the Ukrainian officials defiantly announced that they refused to comply with the Minsk agreements of 2014-15, designed to end the conflict in the Donbass. [36]

The situation has further complicated by invoking the factor of war crimes against Russia, recruitment of foreign mercenaries and a media war that appears to have been unleashed by all the parties concerned. In pursuit of evidence, Ukraine dispatched visual teams to bombed sites to make a case against Russia at the International Criminal Court at The Hague. The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken remarked on a CNN programme that there had been very credible reports of attacks on civilians which would constitute a war crime. [37] There have been reports of recruitment of foreign mercenaries by both sides especially through private military firms. [38] Russia is reported to seek recruitment of Syrian fighters [39] while Ukraine tries to recruit fighters from Africa. [40]

On 7 March 2022, the Ukrainian President stated that he was no more insistent on NATO membership for his country and was even willing to ‘compromise’ on the status of the two breakaway territories. In a strong rebuke to NATO he added that NATO was unprepared to accept Ukraine as it was afraid of controversial things and that Ukraine was not willing to beg for something on its knees. [41] This statement, that appears to be a product of a growing  desperation at the unwillingness of both, the NATO and the European Union to provide real-time military help on the terms that Ukraine sought. It was a realisation that either of the parties were unwilling to escalate the war into a direct NATO-Russia conflict. Despite the fact that the Ukrainian President continued to make belligerent statements regarding the capability of his country to withstand the attack and turn back the tide; the 7 March 2022 statement was the first clear indication of a possibility of a breakthrough in the bilateral dialogue.

The turn of events leads one to identify certain trends that are likely to emerge in Europe in the near future. The Ukraine case illustrates the limits beyond which the Western powers were unwilling to go to ensure that the basic status quo in European order remains undisturbed. Any escalation that would lead to a direct confrontation with Russia was to be avoided at it would lead to what the American President described a ‘World War III’ situation [42]. Implicitly, it meant accepting the ‘Red Lines’ that Russia has been indicating all along since the 1990s. It also implies that the United States would be willing to abandon its own professed policy that had been the base for the expansion of NATO and sacrifice the interests of Ukraine. Second, the European scene is also likely to see tensions rise between the core or the ‘old’ European powers and the United States and NATO. Given the fact that NATO is perhaps the only way that the United States can retain its influence in Europe, the divisions between European Union and NATO are likely to increase on the issue of the determinants of security of European states. The geopolitical realities of European security, this includes the reality of dependence on Russia for its energy security for a considerable period of time, is likely to clash with American geopolitical interests in Europe. Three, Ukraine may have to come to terms with a realisation of the limits of manoeuvrability that it has being located next to a major power like Russia. It would be unlikely that the Russian position on Ukraine and Georgia change in the near future. In fact, Ukraine may have to endure a state of freeze in its status as a country whose fate remains undecided regarding its identity as either a member of European Union or NATO. Four, it is also likely that the debate on Ukraine would shift from geopolitical and geostrategic issues to humanitarian ones, especially within the framework of War Crimes. Since the conflict in Sarajevo and Kosovo, the International Criminal Court has become active in monitoring war crimes. The criticism that this monitoring and prosecution is selective would continue to be a matter of concern to states outside the ‘accepted’ definition of participatory democracies. But the growing claim that the refugees from Ukraine are carrying evidence of war crimes committed by Russia [43] would receive sufficient media attention for it to become a matter that cannot be ignored. This is compounded by the accusation of the possibility of use of chemical and biological weapons [44].

In the long run, the de-escalation of the crisis may hinge on the efforts made by the French President. He had called on both the parties to return to the Minsk Agreement and the need to start a dialogue with President Putin about setting the stage for a new European security deal that considers Putin’s security requirements whilst also reinforcing the red lines that the US and NATO have drawn up.

*( Author: Dr. Shrikant Paranjpe is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune 411007 and Research Fellow, Centre for Military Studies, Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.  E mail: shrikantparanjpe[at]hotmail.com)


[1‘Crimea crisis: Russian President Putin’s speech annotated’, BBC, 19 March 2014
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26652058 (accessed on 5 March 2022)

[2In a statement of March 11, 2014, the Supreme Council of Crimea proclaimed that it is acting “with regard to the charter of the United Nations and a whole range of other international documents and taking into consideration the confirmation of the status of Kosovo by the United Nations International Court of Justice on July, 22, 2010, which says that unilateral declaration of independence by a part of the country doesn’t violate any international norms.”
Christian Marxsen ‘Crimea’s Declaration of Independence’ , Blog of the European Journal of International Law https://www.ejiltalk.org/crimeas-declaration-of-independence/ (accessed on 4 March 2022)

[3Paul Gallis, Paul Belkin, Carl Ek, Julie Kim, Jim Nichol, and Steven Woehrel, Enlargement Issues at NATO’s Bucharest Summit, CRS Report for Congress, Updated April 18, 2008, p.23-25. https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=486312 (accessed on 4 March 2022)

[4Denys Kiryukhin , ‘Roots and Features of Modern Ukrainian National Identity and Nationalism’ E-International Relations, Mar 19 2015
https://www.e-ir.info/2015/03/19/roots-and-features-of-modern-ukrainian-national-identity-and-nationalism/ (accessed on 5 March 2022)

[5Michael Emerson and Veronika Movchan (ed.) Deepening EU-Ukrainian Relations What, why and how? Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Brussels, Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting (IER),Kyiv, Rowman & Littlefield International, London, 2016, p. 1. http://aei.pitt.edu/79178/1/Ukraine_e-version_with_covers.pdf (accessed on 5 March 2022)

[6Wojciech Konończuk, ‘Russia’s Real Aims in Crimea’, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 13, 2014. https://carnegieendowment.org/2014/03/13/russia-s-real-aims-in-crimea-pub-54914 (accessed on 5 March 2022)

[7Milena Ingelevič-Citak, ‘Crimean conflict — from the perspectives of Russia, Ukraine, and public international law’ International and Comparative Law Review 15(2), December 2015, p.26.
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322704964_Crimean_conflict_-_from_the_perspectives_of_Russia_Ukraine_and_public_international_law (accessed on 5 March 2022)

[8Wojciech Konończuk, op.cit.

[9Ibid..

[10‘Crimea crisis: Russian President Putin’s speech annotated’, op.cit.

[11Milena Ingelevič-Citak, op.cit., p. 33.

[12Katya Kruk, ‘The Crimean Factor: How the European Union Reacted to Russia’s Annexation of Crimea’, The Warsaw Institute Review, 7 May 2019
https://warsawinstitute.org/crimean-factor-european-union-reacted-russias-annexation-crimea/ (accessed on 5 March 2022)

[13‘Statement by the President on Ukraine’, The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, March 20, 2014 https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/20/statement-president-ukraine (accessed on 5 March 2022)

[14Ian Traynor ‘Barack Obama: no cold war over Crimea’, The Guardian, 26 March 2014. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/26/obama-no-cold-war-crimea (accessed on 5 March 2022)

[15For Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s comments see: ‘Ukraine crisis ’created artificially’ - Russia’s Lavrov’, BBC, 8 March 2014. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26495378 (accessed on 6 March 2022)

[16‘What you need to know about Ukraine’s separatist regions’, CBS News , February 22, 2022
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ukraine-breakaway-regions-russia-donbas-donetsk-luhansk/ (accessed on 6 March 2022)

[17Eleanor Watson, Olivia Gazis, David Martin, ‘Russia is amassing troops near the Ukrainian border: What you need to know’ CBS News, December 9, 2021
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/russia-ukraine-news-what-you-need-to-know/ (accessed on 2 March 2022)

[18Sandrine Amiel, ‘Russia’s military build-up near Ukraine is different this time, say experts’, Euronews, 06/12/2021
https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2021/11/24/russia-s-military-build-up-near-ukraine-is-different-this-time-say-experts (accessed on 4 March 2022)

[19David J. Kramer, ‘No Need to Expand NATO’, The Christian Science Monitor, February 8, 1995. https://www.csmonitor.com/1995/0208/08191.html (accessed on 7 March 2022)

[20Paul E. Gallis, ‘NATO Enlargement: Pro and Con Arguments’, CRS Report, February 13, 1998 https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs613/m1/1/high_res_d/97-718f_1998Feb13.htm (accessed on 7 March 2022)

[21The Debate On NATO Enlargement, Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, One Hundred Fifth Congress, First Session, October 7, 9, 22, 28, 30 And November 5, 1997[Senate Hearing 105-285] https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/chrg-105shrg46832/html/chrg-105shrg46832.htm (Accessed On 7 March 2022)

[22Ibid.

[23Ted Galen Carpenter, ‘Many predicted Nato expansion would lead to war. Those warnings were ignored’ The Guardian, 28 February, 2022 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/28/nato-expansion-war-russia-ukraine (accessed on 7 March 2022)

[24David J. Kramer, op.cit.

[25Speech and the Following Discussion at the Munich Conference on Security Policy February 10, 2007 http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/24034 (accessed on 7 March 2022)

[26Sarah Starkey, ‘Putin reminds everyone that Ukraine joining NATO could lead to nuclear war’ Bulletin of Atomic Scientists February 11, 2022 https://thebulletin.org/2022/02/putin-says-ukraine-membership-in-nato-would-make-nuclear-war-more-likely/ (accessed on 7 March 2022)

[27Diksha Munjal, ‘How dependent is Europe on Russia for its energy needs?’ The Hindu, February 19, 2022 https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/explained-how-dependent-is-europe-on-russia-for-its-energy-needs/article65064946.ece (accessed on 7 March 2022)

[28The executive order was signed on 8 March 2022. Michael D.Shear, ‘Biden turns up heat, bans Russian oil’, Indian Express (Pune), March 9, 2022, p.7.

[29Daniel Thomas, ‘War in Ukraine: Russia says it may cut gas supplies if oil ban goes ahead’, BBC, 8 March 2022 https://www.bbc.com/news/business-60656673 (accessed on 8 March 2022)

[30Amélie Zima, ‘ Rethinking the Link Between NATO and the EU’ International Centre for Defence and Security, Estonia, December 1, 2021.
https://icds.ee/en/rethinking-the-link-between-nato-and-the-eu/ (accessed on 7 March 2022)

[31Anna Dimitrova, ‘The State of the Transatlantic Relationship in the Trump Era’, Foundation Robert Schuman Policy Paper, 4 February 2020. https://www.robert-schuman.eu/en/doc/questions-d-europe/qe-545-en.pdf (accessed on 7 March 2022)

[32The Indian Express (Pune), March 8, 2022, p. 14.

[33Remarks by President Biden in State of the Union Address, March 02, 2022 Washington, D.C. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/03/02/remarks-by-president-biden-in-state-of-the-union-address/ (accessed on 7 March 2022)

[34Alberto Nardelli, Natalia Drozdiak & John Follain , ‘Some EU Nations Balk at Push to Advance Ukraine’s Membership Bid’, Bloomberg, 07 March 2022 https://www.bloombergquint.com/politics/some-eu-nations-balk-at-push-to-advance-ukraine-s-membership-bid (accessed on 8 March 2022)

[35As it happened: Key takeaways from Macron’s diplomatic mission to Moscow, France 24, 07/02/2022 https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20220207-live-macron-in-moscow-in-push-for-diplomatic-solution-to-mounting-ukraine-crisis (accessed on 8 March 2022)

[36Alexey Kupriyanov, ‘The situation in Ukraine: a view from Moscow’, Raisina Debates, March 02, 2022, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi. https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/the-situation-in-ukraine/ (accessed on 7 March 2022)

[37Sudarsan Raghavan, ‘Amid the death and rubble, Ukrainian teams hunt for evidence of possible war crimes’ Washington Post, March 8, 2022.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/06/ukraine-russia-war-crimes/ (accessed on 10 March 2022)

[38Bernd Debusmann Jr, ‘Private military firms see demand in Ukraine war’, BBC, 8 March 2022. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-60669763 (accessed on 8 March 2022)

[39Julian Borger, ‘Russia trying to recruit Syrians to fight in Ukraine, says Pentagon’, The Guardian, 7 March 2022 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/07/russia-trying-to-recruit-syrians-to-fight-in-ukraine-says-pentagon (accessed on 8 March 2022)

[40‘Ukraine’s bid to recruit fighters from Africa sparks uproar’ DW, 8 March 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/ukraines-bid-to-recruit-fighters-from-africa-sparks-uproar/a-61049323 (accessed on 8 March 2022)

[41‘In nod to Russia, Ukraine says no longer insisting on NATO membership’ France 24, 8/03/2022 https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220308-in-nod-to-russia-ukraine-says-no-longer-insisting-on-nato-membership (accessed on 9 March 2022)

[42Steven Nelson, ‘That’s called World War III’: Biden defends decision not to send jets to Ukraine, New York Post, March 11,2022.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/11/thats-called-world-war-iii-biden-defends-decision-not-to-send-jets-to-ukraine/ (accessed on 12 March 2022)

[43Rafal Niedzielski ,’They were shooting civilians’: Ukraine refugees saw abuses, ABC News, 11 March 2022 https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/shooting-civilians-ukraine-refugees-abuses-83360844 (accessed on 12 March 2022)

[44Ishika Yadav, ‘Biological weapons in Ukraine? A look at how stakeholders are responding to Russia’s claim’, Hindustan Times, 13 March 2022, https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/biological-weapons-in-ukraine-a-look-at-how-stakeholders-are-responding-to-russia-s-claim-101647057513518.html (accessed on 13 March 2022)

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